Few studies have evaluated the causes of physical inactivity in rural teachers from South America. Determining the causes and effects of physical inactivity in rural teachers could be the base for future intervention studies aiming to improve physical activity (PA) engagement in this population. OBJECTIVES: To examine the levels of PA in rural teachers and evaluate the associations between their jobs, interest in PA, body composition and practice of PA. METHODS: Body mass index (BMI) and body fat % (BF) of rural teachers from the Valparaiso Region in Chile were measured; interviews regarding PA habits, interests and PA practice were conducted. The relationship between BF% and interest in PA and the practice of sports was analysed stratifying by sex. RESULTS: Around 71% were overweight/obese and 80% of the teachers reported not practicing any PA. These figures are higher than the Chilean national average for adults (64.5% overweight/obese). Moreover, females presented a higher BF% than male teachers (35.98% vs. 26.44%, p<0.05). The main causes of not performing PA were: firstly, the lack of time (51.8%), and secondly, fatigue after work and/or finishing work late. In addition, rural teachers claim that in their free time they continue to finish tasks that they were not able to complete during their working hours. CONCLUSIONS: Rural Chilean teachers show a high prevalence of obesity and low PA levels. Moreover, rural teachers have a work overload stemming from their jobs, and this could be an important link to an overall sedentary lifestyle. Further studies should focus on the relationship between teacher obesity, physical activity, nutrition and work overload.
- Body composition
- sedentary lifestyle